Online vs. offline customer experience at a small business

I just hung up after 7 minutes on hold with an ecommerce company . I was not calling to resolve an issue, but rather to give them money with an order for an item they don’t process online. After being put onhold by a wholly disinterested receptionist and listening to 7 minutes of loud conga music (ok it was a Miami company), I will look elsewhere for replacement sunglass lenses.

The disparity between the online and offline experience is staggering with smaller ecommerce companies in particular, as if they were two different companies.

In this particular case, the initial product was purchased through the Amazon marketplace, so the online experience was exceptional. Things fell apart when direct contact was initiated

With a clear goal of exceptional service across the board, resource-strapped smaller companies can succeed by taking the same care with the offline customer experience as they do with the online ecommerce engine.

  • Have a clear company goal of exceptional service, define what this means and reinforce this goal at every turn
  • Staff accordingly with like-minded, service oriented people that embrace this concept.
  • Make sure your systems are solid to handle calls/chats and expedite order lookups and order processing.
  • Spot check your customer’s experience, using a friend or colleague to process a service request or an order online and offline.

A two-person ecommerce shop can look like they employ hundreds by handling online and offline interactions quickly, efficiently and with a friendly attitude.

It’s not rocket science.

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